As we grow and mature during this life, so many things are learned and unlearned. Traits and manners of being that will either help propel and progress us to being the type of personality we desire or become negative aspects. In my own case I can honestly say that many of my own behavioural patterns have me where I want to be. There are some, however, that need daily work. Hell, how about hourly. Keeping track of these is a pain sometimes as I do them without thinking and therefore the actions themselves can slip away from my thoughts and I find myself doing them over and over. Frustrating as hell but it is part of being a human. Jon Kabat Zinn talks of these in his books and calls them attitudinal factors. They are valid and important in my life and in most people. Here are the seven…
****Non-judging- Patience-Beginner’s Mind-Trust-Non-striving-Acceptance-Letting Go****
I have already discussed Non Judging in past sessions as well as Beginner’s Mind, so no reason to dwell on those for now.The one that really hit me the other day, in a positive way, was PATIENCE. This is something which I have always needed help with and still do. Back when I was a Jehovah’s Witness, patience was something I had very little of. Like most religions that believe in a future of perfection and nirvana, JW’s believe in a paradise on earth and that it is right around the corner. They are not alone in this either as many have predicted times when events would occur, without any success. Therefore I was always impatient for when things would change…for ME. Impatient for love, for money, travel, security and for anything that would take me away to where I wanted to be. Is that selfish? Sure, in some ways it is. Though we do need to look out for ourselves, love ourselves. And in this regard it is not selfish. Yet I was always angry. Not very happy with life in some ways as I seemed to always be on the cusp of something and it or they would always run away or be dashed on the rocks of life’s outcroppings.
And as we’d been taught that the wisdom and doctrines employed in our lives were from the powers that controlled us in that organization or in societal mores, not much room was left to move. Patience was something rare for me. I wanted it now and had a difficult time in dealing with life if I couldn’t have what is still as detrimental today…INSTANT GRATIFICATION. When I couldn’t have it, buy it, see it or feel it…I turned into an angry and irritated man. My body posture would change, making me look like I was always either depressed, angry or irritated soul. Still today I have to beware of my posture and body language as it is a hard habit to break. Friends would even ask if I was ok and what was wrong. I should have learned the signs back then but failed to and know that it’s one of many reasons why I didn’t enjoy life as much. Thank goodness I left that religious group and now stay away from them.Call me spiritual or at most, a non religious Buddhist.
When I started to learn and educate myself more with Eastern philosophies and to calm my heart, mind and being…things changed a LOT. Not to say that western philosophies couldn’t do similar things to humans but in my experience, western society now was so driven by commercialism and capitalistic ideals that it was in my best interest to expand my horizons. This I did with great interest and the turning point came when little moments I experienced taught me in, greater detail than ever, Patience was essential to me. It calmed me, forced me to think harder and learn from what I was about to say,do or how I would act. Yet, learning how to BE patient when for so many years I was not…that was a difficult thing for me and still rears it ugly head. One of the reasons I had my latest dragon tattoo on my back done was to remind me of patience.
See how the dragon’s head reaches around to the front and atop my shoulder? That is so I would always have the reminder of my inner dragon watching over, looking forward to what I do, how I react. This dragon is sleeping and that’s how I prefer him to be. If I watch my actions and am patient,calm and loving, he will stay asleep. He is a constant reminder to me of how I can and have bettered myself in this life. How I have changed, very much towards the positive, patient and loving. How am I more patient? My speech used to appear before brain was engaged and I constantly found myself apologizing for everything I did. This is also something I have found hard to break free from. Constant apologies. Great…yet another thing to work on.
As I type this today I look around me at the fifty or so people at this coffee shoppe and see at least 60-70% are on their smartphones and the rest on laptops or tablets. Yeah, I’m on my laptop too so I count in that number. Yet we live in a society where instant news,data and life are thrown at us, bombarding the mind with “stuff” that we overload sometimes. This can make my patience level drop and It’s frightening to think of how these devices are such a part of our lives that we forget so much going on around us. I have tried to limit myself, little by little, to less time on the phone and devices. It isn’t easy. But I learn patience as I do so and really get back into detailed listening and seeing what is happening in life instead of whats on my phone. No, I won’t give them up as they are a mouthpiece for me and I LOVE to talk to my friends, loves and acquaintances. My inner circle especially. But now when I do these things, I delve deeper into being more patient,calm and determined to think before I speak and type.